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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Paul Krugman, "Milton Friedman, Unperson": Who's Crazy?

Many years ago, when my brother was well on his way to a Ph.D. in psychology, he invited me visit him one summer at the "funny farm" (probably not politically correct) where he was interning. Curious, I made the drive to this magnificent facility in the hills of New England, and the first challenge he posed to me was to pick out the patients from those treating them. As I soon discovered, this was no simple task. I recall a scene beside a swimming pool where one seemingly "normal" young man pointed at a boy, busy splashing in the water, and informed me that "he's crazy." Moments thereafter, the young man, who had so kindly shared with me his evaluation, was staring into the sky and holding a conversation with the sun.

In short, in a world gone mad, it's not always easy to know who's crazy, and regarding those who are busy labeling others crazy? Be careful!

Of late, Paul Krugman has been busy labeling Republicans crazy (see: "Republicans Against Reality" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/05/opinion/krugman-republicans-against-reality.html?_r=0),  and "Delusions of Populism" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/opinion/krugman-delusions-of-populism.html?_r=0).

Today, in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Milton Friedman, Unperson" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/opinion/krugman-milton-friedman-unperson.html?_r=0), Krugman again questions the sanity of Republicans. Krugman concludes:

"The point, however, is that modern conservatism has moved so far to the right that it no longer has room for even small concessions to reality. [Milton] Friedman tried to save free-market conservatism from itself — but the ideologues who now dominate the G.O.P. are beyond saving."

Well, notwithstanding the fact that I attended the University of Chicago when Milton Friedman was teaching there, I am no free-market conservative, as apparent from my failed attempts to reinstate the "Uptick Rule" (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/search/label/Uptick%20Rule). I also support reinstatement of Glass-Steagall (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/search/label/Glass-Steagall). But dismantle America's financial institutions? Again, consider Krugman's memorable declaration (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/opinion/krugman-confronting-the-malefactors.html):

"Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.

. . . .

It’s clear what kinds of things the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want, and it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details."

You see, I am not "left," "right" or doctrinaire. Rather, I have experienced enough crises in my life, some involving matters of life and death, to come to the realization that flexibility and open-mindedness are requisite qualities of mind and character when seeking solutions.

Crazy in my own special way? With papers to prove it.




2 comments:

  1. Too bad I didn’t take you to the psychiatry department of Man’s Best Hospital in Boston, where I worked for the first part of my career. I would have asked you the same question, and you would have had the same difficulty answering. It doesn’t matter how high in the pecking order you go: crazy people are everywhere. Of course, crazy people with “credentials” do much more damage!

    Your loving brother

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  2. Occupy Bellevue Hospital!
    Then the job of policy intellectuals and politicians can fill in the details.

    Oops! The policy intellectuals and politicians anticipated details to deal with the thousands of protests for medical insurance before there was a single protest movement.

    Is there a place where all these PIs and Pols can emigrate? Haiti must need some new policy details.

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